It is important to determine what your expectations are when selecting a new doctor. Gather as much information as possible to make the best decision for you and your family. The following are a few questions to consider:
- Is the doctor taking new patients?
- Is the doctor in my network or covered by my insurance plan?
- Does the doctor accept Medicare or Medicaid patients?
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
- Is the doctor board certified? In what field?
- Is the age, sex, race, or religion of the doctor important to me?
- Will language be an obstacle to communication? Is there someone in the office who speaks my language?
- Do I prefer a group practice or a doctor in private practice?
- Does it matter which hospital the doctor admits patients to?
PROVIDER LOCATION QUESTIONS
- Is the location of the doctor’s office important to me? How far am I willing to travel to see the doctor?
- Is there parking? What does it cost? Is the office on a public transit route?
- Does the building have an elevator?
- Is the office wheelchair or walker accessible?
- What days and hours are the offices open? Do you accept walk-ins?
- What happens if I miss an appointment?
- Are there times set aside for the doctor to take phone calls? Does the doctor accept emailed questions?
- Does the doctor make house calls or offer telehealth communication methods?
- How far in advance do I have to make appointments?
- What’s the process for urgent care? How do I reach my doctor when I have an emergency?
- Who takes care of patients after hours or when the doctor is away?
This is just a short list of things you need to know. Just remember to be proactive and take charge of your health.
Source: National Institute of Aging, National Institute of Health